Winter real estate has its unique challenges, but it does come with one big benefit. Buyers who are house shopping in the dead of winter are usually serious!So, try not to let the snow and ice get you down–literally or figuratively.
Sloppy, slushy conditions are not only dangerous to folks trying to get to your front door, but they create messes – while you’re trying so desperately to keep the home clean.
Here are some tips to selling your house in the winter.
1. Keep them safe
Can you imagine a prospective homebuyer (or one of his or her children) careening down your walkway on her backside? Yikes.
Prevent this from happening by being extra-diligent in your ice and snow removal. Pay close attention to walkways, driveways, sidewalks near your home and stairways. There’s nothing worse than ice hidden under a layer of snow, so stay on top of your snow and ice removal! Remember, even if you’ve moved out of the home, clearing the driveway and walks is still your responsibility, so hire a neighbor or service to help you with the task. If you have a deck or patio, ensure it’s snow-free as well to entice potential buyers to explore.
Follow up the shoveling with ice melt, rock salt and/or sand. ConsumerReports.org has a handy piece about how to use ice melt and which is best.
Cut back any tree branches that appear precarious or low hanging that crowd walkways.
Finally, clear out the gutters to avoid overflow and prevent icicles.
2. Entice them to come inside
Do whatever you can to add pops of color to the exterior of the home. Potential buyers will notice and, hopefully, be enticed to get out of the car and into the home.
Add some color to the exterior of the home with plants, such as holly and pine, or seasonal wreaths.
Consider painting the front door a cheerier color. You’ll need to time the painting job carefully, though, because air temperature matters when paint is drying, according to the pros at houselogic.com.
Oil-based semi-gloss exterior paint needs to be applied in temperatures that are no lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the limit is 50 degrees for acrylic-based paint.
3. Make them want to stick around
Offer up a place for visitors to hang their coats, as well as shoe coverings to keep them from tracking the outside through the home. Disposable booties are quite inexpensive and will save you having to clean up the floors constantly. Check out Amazon.com if you prefer ordering online. A generously-sized mat at the front door will provide a place for everyone’s shoes to dry off and help save dirty dribbles on the floor you’ve been working so hard to keep clean.
If you’ll be at work while the home is being shown, you’ll need to prepare the home before leaving. Set the thermostat at a comfortable level. Turn on all the lights and, if it’s a particularly gloomy day, switch on your landscape lighting and porch light.
Since all homes look better in natural light, open all the window coverings as well.
How about a fun, welcoming and seasonal open house idea? A hot chocolate station! Use a slow cooker to keep water hot, and offer a basket full of envelopes of instant hot chocolate mix, another full of cookies, a bowl full of mini-marshmallows and a container of stir sticks. You can find additional hot chocolate station ideas here. The warm comforting smell of hot chocolate and cookies will evoke a cozy feelings. Don’t forget to leave a note inviting visitors to help themselves.
Sometimes it feels like winter will never end, but just think about how good an accepted offer will feel!